NFL Awards Watch: Patrick Mahomes Leads Four-Quarterback Race For MVP

Welcome to NFL Awards Watch, my weekly column that will take a look at the five major awards handed out in the NFL: MVP; Offensive and Defensive Player Of The Year; and Offensive and Defensive Rookie Of The Year.

JONATHAN HUTTON NFL AWARDS WATCH ARCHIVE

There’s another contender for MVP as the backstretch of the season begins. Plus Offensive Player of the Year is also becoming quite the interesting battle. Let’s get to it:

NFL Awards Watch: Week 11

NFL MVP QBS
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, Bills QB Josh Allen, Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. (Getty Images)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

QB PATRICK MAHOMES, Kansas City Chiefs 

“Magic Mahomes does it again, baby.”
—Travis Kelce

Mahomes continues to shine in MVP moments. Down four against the Chargers on Sunday night, Mahomes drove the Chiefs offense to score another game-winning touchdown. Six plays, 75 yards in 1:15 appeared effortless, but we all know it’s far from routine. Mahomes remains unbeaten when facing an AFC West opponent on the road, now 14-0 in such matchups. 

Three More To Consider:

  • QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins. I handed Tua a spot in the MVP chatter as we entered Week 11. Miami is 7-1 in games he’s started, 7-0 in games he’s finished. He’s returned from concussion protocol to account for 10 touchdowns in four games. That’s led to the Dolphins currently sitting atop the AFC East, on their way to the team’s first playoff appearance since 2016. No one is mocking him for his high completion percentage now. Instead, check and see who leads the league in passer rating. Hint: It’s Tua. 
  • QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn’t pretty. In fact the majority of Philadelphia’s offensive performance was awful. But when the Eagles needed a spark late in Sunday’s road win at Indianapolis, Hurts led two drives to win the game.
  • QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. Allen and the Bills appeared to be sleepwalking again this week in Detroit, but the second half offense woke up in time to beat the Browns. The Bills scored 28 points and gained 342 yards in the final three quarters. I’m not concerned with Allen figuring things out in time for the postseason, but Buffalo’s path to the Super Bowl will come on the road instead of Orchard Park if the inconsistent play continues Thanksgiving Day against the Lions.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

WR TYREEK HILL, Miami Dolphins

Hill leads the NFL in receptions (81), targets (106) and receiving yards (1,148) and possesses the ability to score from anywhere on the field. He also leads the NFL in plays for 20 yards or more (20). Hill’s play has been so dominant we’ve witnessed Tagovailoa turn a corner in his prove-it season even before Thanksgiving rolled around.

Two More To Consider:

  • WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys made everything difficult for the Vikings offense in Week 11. It was hard for Jefferson to get the football with the pass rush that harassed Kirk Cousins all afternoon.
  • TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs. He leads the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions and added three more scores on his final three catches in Sunday night’s win in Los Angeles. Kelce finished with six catches and three touchdowns for 115 yards.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

WR CHRIS OLAVE, New Orleans Saints.

Olave once again delivered for the New Orleans offense, hauling in five catches for 102 yards, including a 53-yard bomb from Andy Dalton to extend the Saints’ lead over the Rams. All Dalton had to do was put the throw on the money after Olave split Jalen Ramsey and Taylor Rapp down the middle of the field. He continues to lead all rookies in receptions and receiving yards. 

Two More To Consider:

  • RB Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks. The former Spartans RB returned to East Lansing on his Bye Week. His season picked up fast, and his K-9 nickname has easily caught on with his recent production. He’s rushed for 587 yards and averages nearly five yards per carry while staying patient behind the line of scrimmage. Per Next Gen Stats, only Cleveland’s Nick Chubb spends more time waiting on blocks to develop. Chubb averages 3.11 seconds behind the line per carry, just ahead of Walker’s 3.07 seconds.
  • RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans. Pierce had been one of the few bright spots on the Texans offense, which is why they stood no chance Sunday against Washington when the rookie had his worst performance of the season.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

OLB MICAH PARSONS, Dallas Cowboys

Parsons was as dominant in Minnesota as he has been all season. He accounted for two of the three first-half sacks of Kirk Cousins, including a strip sack for another forced turnover. He now has 10 sacks on the season after posting 13 last season as a rookie.

Two More To Consider:

  • DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers.
  • OLB Matthew Judon, New England Patriots.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

CB SAUCE GARDNER, New York Jets

Gardner punched out a pass intended for wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. His dominant rookie season continues.

Two More To Consider:

  • CB Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks. Woolen enters a Week 12 matchup against the Raiders where he should receive plenty of chances to shine matched up at times with Davante Adams. We saw another interception for Woolen in Week 10, his fifth of the season.
  • DE Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions.

Jonathan Hutton is the host of OutKick 360 and will write weekly about NFL awards. Follow Hutton on Twitter.

Written by Jonathan Hutton

Jonathan Hutton hosts OutKick 360 each weekday afternoon. He spent 16 seasons as the gameday host and sideline reporter for the Tennessee Titans Radio Network and covered the biggest NFL events. Follow @HuttonOutKick on Twitter/Instagram.

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